Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Unschooling by Default?

My previous post , about attitudes and living by default, opened up a can of worms. For me.

I realize that sometimes I unschool by default.

True. I am an unschooler at heart.

By unschooler I mean one who sees learning happening everywhere, all the time.

Actually a day in the life of an unschooler looks a lot like summer days and weekends for other people. Unschooling isn't so much in what unschoolers do as in their attitude towards life and learning and how they're intertwined. Our conversations are our lessons without being lessons.
Joyfully Rejoycing

At the 4 Real Learning Forum, someone asked about weak areas in homescooling.

My reply?

This year, my weak areas have been a) read alouds ( we read a lot and share reading but I am doing next to nothing wrt reading aloud) and b) any formal work, in general ( we have done a few days here and there of Latin, Maths, etc but mostly we go back to just being busy, without any formal work).

I think I have homeschooled for so long that formal work isn't interesting me. But life and spending time near and with the kids, is.

I hate letting my emotions run our school - if I plan to unschool, well, good, but to unschool by default seems to be my weakness right now.

When I unschool by choice I am connected and learning flows. When I unschool simply because I am tired or busy then I feel I set a bad example to the kids. That it is okay to shirk duties because of how one feels.

This week, I am making a conscious effort. To be nice - no sharp or abrupt answers to my kids. And to unschool by plan.

Today, we have worked on our April bulletin board, folded leaflets for delivery, glanced at a website of Italian swear words ( blushes), did housework, exercised, played games, looked up the history of April Fool's Day after an April Fool's trick, played with virtual bubble wrap, read books, listened to music, played the piano and guitar, talked about the book " Nim's Island ", baked muffins, done driving practice with one son. This afternoon, it is friends over for the kids, part time work for some, and work related stuff for me.

And the kids will add a page to their Mary Notebooks; a page on the Annunciation . If not today, then tomorrow.

No, this doesn't look like school. No, there is not a lot of schoolwork happening. But there is a lot of learning, a lot of unschooling, of planned unschooling on purpose going on.

And nice-ness.


Rachel said...

Oh, I am probably the guiltiest of all when it comes to 'unschooling by default'. Oh the arrow through my heart from this post...help...I'm bleeding...you got me, Leonie! (wink!)

We have been much better recently. Autumn is really hooked on the Warriors series so I feel like I am doing great when she will listen to me read to her for a long time.

I love your thinking out loud on your blog. Keep it up!

Leonie said...

Glad to hear that my thinking out loud is't too incoheent. Bu seriously, your description of your day with Autumn, on your blog, was inspiring. Made me think that I spent too much time on have tos and not with my kids. So no way do you unschool by default!

Marie said...


I'm pondering this one. I'm not sure my dc are old enough/I've been at this long enough to know how this fits or not with me. But I know when I am "with" my kids and giving myself to them, and when I'm not. When we just happen to be home together, not really about "living" (and learning from it).

I'm also working on being more "there" and not being the one to cause tempers to flare, etc. A definite challenge for me.